Friday 8th January 2021
In Across the Leagues today:
When I said yesterday that I’d be back on Monday, I meant, of course, today. I must have got used to not knowing what day it was over Christmas…
Our main business this weekend is the FA Cup. I sent out my Outright Winner outsider-betting preview yesterday. Along with some 3rd-round shock-hunting pointers:
The website is also up-to-date with all the latest league stats. There’s a smattering of fixtures in Leagues One & Two this weekend. As well as a normal weekend programme in the Scottish Premiership. And action in Spain, Germany, and Italy, too.
My own focus today is on the Italian top-flight…
As reported last month, Serie A is one of the top European divisions where – so far – the 2020/21 season is shaping up for a potential league-winner upset…
For example, in France. Ligue 1 champions PSG could only manage a 1-1 draw in new manager Mauricio Pochettino’s first game in charge, away at 14th-place St Etienne.
PSG currently site 2nd in the table, 3 points behind Lyon. At the start of the season, Lyon were 22/1 (23.0) for the title. They’re now trading at around 6/1 (7.0), but as short as 5/2 (3.5) with BetVictor. While Betway are an industry-best 8/1 (9.0).
In Italy, perennial Serie A winners Juventus are a little off the pace right now…
Cristiano Ronaldo & co are in 4th spot. Juventus are 7 pts behind the leaders, AC Milan, who are followed by Inter Milan and then Roma.
However, the Old Lady do have a game in hand on the three sides above them. And Juventus have returned from the short Christmas break with all guns blazing, winning 4-1 v Udinese, then 3-1 at AC Milan.
Sassuolo have been the surprise package in Serie A this season. From 750/1 on day one, they are now ‘only’ 250/1 in the Outright Winner betting.
They are currently in 5th place, just a point behind Juve. And that makes this weekend’s fixture especially interesting…
Juventus v Sassuolo (Sunday 7.45pm)
Upset hunters will be encouraged to know that Sassuolo have done most of their damage on the road this season. With 5 of their 8 league victories coming away from home.
On the other hand, they were humbled 5-1 at Atalanta last weekend, who are 7th in the table. And Sassuolo were also beaten 2-1 at home by AC Milan in December, and 0-3 by Inter in November.
So, the question is, can they do it against the big boys, or not?
Sassuolo haven’t won any of their last 9 meetings with Juventus. Last season’s encounters showed plenty of potential though, with high-scoring 3-3 and 2-2 draws played out between these two…
The bookies make Over 2.5 Goals just 4/9 (1.44) in general.
Juventus are odds-on to win, at 1/3 (1.33). Another draw is around 9/2 (5.5). Betfred and BetVictor have Sassuolo a top-price 10/1 (11.00) for the upset.
I’m most interested in a couple of our old friends, in the Anytime Scorer markets…
A bit of price comparison for you here. For Juventus this weekend, Cristiano Ronaldo is odds-on to score, at 4/7 (1.57) at best.
Other star strikers in Serie A with odds-on prices this weekend include Duvan Zapata for Atalanta, at no bigger than 10/11 (1.91).
And our 16/1 Top Goalscorer buddy from last season, Ciro Immobile. The Lazio forward is 5/6 (1.83).
Incidentally, the best prices on that goalscoring trio this weekend are all at Skybet, BetVictor, Ladbrokes & Coral.
As ever, I’m keen to hunt out a price or two from the odds-against section of the betting list. Two men in particular catch my eye in Italy this weekend…
For Sassuolo, Francesco Caputo is our main man. Back at the start of November, I flagged him up as a 33/1 Each Way prospect in the Serie A Top Goalscorer market. That very night, he picked up a thigh injury and missed a chunk of matches.
Caputo has started the last three games, though – scoring once. Last season, Caputo scored in both games v Juventus. With Juve only managing one Clean Sheet in their last 6 home games in Serie A, I like the Sassuolo striker as a 3/1 (4.0) and 13/6 (3.6) prospect this weekend.
Fiorentina v Cagliari (Sunday 5pm)
Elsewhere in the Italian top-flight, Cagliari attacking midfielder Joao Pedro has been in the goals recently. With 4 in his last 3 games, propelling him to joint-4th in the Serie A scorer standings, with 10 goals for the season.
Hosts Fiorentina have kept just one Clean Sheet in their last 7 home league games.
In the Anytime Scorer table on our site, only Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku sit above Joao Pedro for goal-scorer payouts:
There’s a case for Joao Pedro and Caputo both being value in the Anytime markets this weekend:
In comparison, Ronaldo @ 4/7 (1.57) would only have you a smidge over break-even for the season so far, with just a 5% ROI.
From the analysis above, here are my two price picks in Italy this weekend…
Juventus v Sassuolo
Fiorentina v Cagliari
I’ll be back on Monday with a stats update, and a look at the upcoming fixture list.
Enjoy the football…